Although the business districts in Detroit have seen a great deal of growth and resurgence in recent years, very little of that new wealth has trickled down to the poorest neighborhoods. However, while this means thousands of people are living in stark poverty, a new underground economy has sprung up to meet these needs, and one of the goals it hopes to meet is saving families from CPS.
A recent article published in Bloomberg News entitled Life Without Money in Detroit’s Survival Economy details this process. The author, Valerie Vande Panne, documents the transactional nature of part of this economy – people trading babysitting hours for a mechanic’s time to work on a car, or exchanging food for old baby clothing when a new mother needs help. All in all, it’s a bartering system that provides a way to meet people’s needs when money is short.
But one part of this economy has nothing to do with transaction. It doesn’t operate on the give and take principle. It serves only to give when there is a need, with no expectation of return. Food, coats, baby clothes, even straw for outdoor dogs, the list of items needed is long and Detroiters Helping Each Other aims to meet as many of those needs as possible.
In the article, Panne interviews Jessica Ramirez, who founded the ‘store’ which operates in a similar way to a thrift store, but all of the items are given to those in need without expectation of payment. However, while the goal is to help everyone who needs it, the primary focus is to help families who are involved with CPS.
The reasoning behind this is that state guidelines require that a family must have running water, food, heat and sufficient basic furniture (like a bed) in order for a child to live there. If a parent can afford food but can’t pay the heat bill, or must choose between buying a bed for their baby or keeping the water on for another month, Detroiters Helping Each Other steps in to help that family.
In an interview with Michigan Radio, Ramirez explained that the ‘big ticket items’ for families struggling with CPS were appliances. Having a fridge or a stove could mean the difference between a family being able to stay together, or the state stepping in and taking the children away.
While it saddens us to see so many here in Michigan struggling so much to meet their most basic daily needs, it is heartening to see that people are stepping up and finding ways to help one another. If you would like to help those in need in Detroit, simply reach out to the organization via their facebook page. They are always happy to be a conduit between those who have, and those who need.
Otherwise, if you or a loved one are struggling with CPS and need help ensuring that your family’s rights are protected, contact us today at 866-346-5879. The skilled CPS defense attorneys at The Kronzek Firm have spent decades helping the families of Michigan stay together. We can help you too.